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The recent bot craze fueled by Facebook's launch of its Messenger Platform prompted me to dig into the history of WeChat. Tencent's dominant messaging app has been referenced by many as an example of the potential for bots to usher enterprises into the messaging world.
The presentation below goes through a detailed history of WeChat's commercial evolution. The tl;dr summary is that bots have played a nascent role thus far.
Enormous capital investment and many years will be required to build seamless conversational bots that can address a broad array of requests. The publicly traded tech leaders are best positioned to develop a solution here that requires no human involvement.
In the near term, most startup opportunities will be focused on discreet bot solutions, human/bot hybrid services, cross platform bot development tools, and other methods of enabling enterprises to participate in messaging.
The extensive research on WeChat was provided by a NY-based, Chinese-born friend who is interested in an entry level VC position. Please contact me @joevc if would like to connect with her.
WeChat Therefore We Bot?
The Commercial History of WeChat, and the roles that bots have played.